Friday, December 31, 2010

365 Days, Day 207

A new year is unfolding – like a blossom with petals curled tightly concealing the beauty within (Author unknown)

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day (Edith Lovejoy Pierce)

New Year's Eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights (Hamilton Wright Mabie)

Tonight is like every other night. We are spending a quiet evening at home, just Tom, little Lily and I.

But I am pensive. I think back over the year before I step over the threshold into the next one.

This year has been a difficult year for me. Before we moved here we were positive and excited. But things haven’t turned out quite the way we expected. 2009 was an adventure and we were finding our feet. Coming from a close-knit extended family, it was a huge adaption getting used to there being three of us then two of us or just me by myself.

This year after the visits to South Africa I have found it difficult to settle down and put my roots down. It has been an emotional battle for me. Also realising things like we were not going to be flitting to Europe as we had envisaged, or me selling my MG in SA and buying another one here was not going to happen – because I have not found a full-time job, and my poor Tom is carrying all of us here and still financing the home in South Africa. This has led me down paths of self-doubt, inadequacy and lack of enthusiasm. The winter has been a reflection of my inner turmoil.

BUT doing my Reiki course has made me look at things differently. I do believe that I have become much more positive in the last two months. I have much to do this coming year. The huge shift from being Mom to being just Deidré has been like a difficult birth. And yes, I am in the process of finding myself - I know my children will think: “Hippy!!” [And no, I haven’t been to a drum circle! yet! hehe].

So, 2011 represents a new beginning for me, built upon all of my wisdom and life experiences. I step out boldly, I see a long arduous path before me, but I think I have some of the skills (and will be gaining new ones along the way) to equip me for the journey.

Things I want to do this year:

Embrace my (slightly bigger) family

Reiki Level 2 and practice Reiki

Swedish massage course

Indian head massage course



Put feelers out into the doula course




Move into a new home

Own a red MG

Be a good friend

Be a fantastic lover (!)

Go where my new journey takes me

Be resilient in turbulent times

Visit Findhorn again (?)

Visit South Africa – on holiday this time

Learn something new as often as possible

Embrace the new and ‘old’ friends in my life

I will take the road least trodden, though I know it will be tough, because it will lead to beautiful destinations. I am climbing out of the box and doing an awakening dance!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

365 Days, Day 206

The creative person wants to be a know-it-all. He wants to know about all kinds of things-ancient history, nineteenth century mathematics, current manufacturing techniques, hog futures. Because he never knows when these ideas might come together to form a new idea. It may happen six minutes later, or six months, or six years. But he has faith that it will happen (Carl Ally)

The most potent muse of all is our own inner child (Stephen Nachmanovitch)

Digging into my inspiration ‘box’ I have come out with this gorgeous creature. I do not know where I am going with her, but holding her in my hand, I can feel the magic starting to squirm. The magic within has been blocked for a while. It is time to open the little windows and let the creative energy out.

I was telling Tom today, that I loved the route I was taking with my bound Barbies and then was sent on a detour (by my lecturers) which I grew to hate and did intellectually rather than from my heart. I realised that now I can go wherever I like with my heart. What an exhilarating feeling!

What else is in my inspiration box at the moment?

Antique binoculars, some red bells, the Tibetan travelling shrine, a fob watch, a concave lens watch, some tiny bottles, some antique food colouring in little bottles, some wooden picture frames, a very old Bible (from a junk shop – not the family Bible!), ribbons, tins, stones, shells, twigs, skeleton leaves, some wool, some fabric, old photos…

I close my eyes and am on a journey in a boat, floating down a river. On the shore I see a beautiful chest. I don’t know what is inside. I hold onto a tree branch to anchor myself. Do I want to climb out of the boat and see what is in the chest, but then risk the boat floating away?

I clamber out of the boat, as I see smoke wisping its way out of the chest, purple smoke. I pull the boat onto the shore and scramble over to the chest. The boat starts to waft away into the gently moving river. I can always catch up to it later, I hope. I try to lift the lid of the chest. It doesn’t budge. I see the little lock and realise I need a key.

My boat is disappearing round a bend and I don’t have a key. I turn over the chest and taped to the bottom is a little tag and a key! The writing on the tag is minute.

Instructions for opening the chest:

1. Your heart must be pure

2. Your soul must be purple or indigo

3. Your love must be unconditional

4. You must take risks and be prepared to make mistakes

5. You need to have found your inner magic

6. Your most potent muse must be your inner child

7. You must embrace the ridiculous with curiosity

8. You must be prepared to believe 6 impossible things before breakfast

9. You must be prepared to follow humbly down the rabbit hole

10.You must be brave enough to be considered eccentric

Am I brave enough, is my heart pure enough?? Have I found my inner magic – do I even have any magic? I doubt myself – I cannot open the chest…

Actually I can open the chest. I will open it: I will take a risk!

I take the key and turn it in the lock; I slowly prise open the lid and inside

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

365 Days, Day 205

Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered – either by themselves or by others (Mark Twain)

Smile, for everyone lacks self-confidence and more than any other one thing a smile reassures them (Andre Maurois)

I am not a has-been. I am a will-be (Lauren Bacall)

Today I have




listened to music,

eaten raw veggies,

been outside in the rain,

looked at inspirational art,

played on the floor with Lily,

done the washing – not the ironing,

realised the name on my income tax letter is spelt incorrectly,

thought about mixed media art work ideas,

held a friend’s hand metaphorically,

read a book on hypnotherapy,

filed some bank statements,

taken only one photograph,

had two cups of coffee -

and two Happy Hippos,

had a bad hair day,

been quiet,

been sad,






I will

start to be

the genie-us

I am going to be

starting with

an art



Tuesday, December 28, 2010

365 Days, Day 204

Death is nothing else but going home to God, the bond of love will be unbroken for all eternity (Mother Teresa)

I would say to those who mourn... look upon each day that comes as a challenge, as a test of courage. The pain will come in waves, some days worse than others, for no apparent reason. Accept the pain. Do not suppress it. Never attempt to hide grief (Daphne du Maurier)

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief...and unspeakable love (Washington Irving)

Bicé Maria Clorinda Sanvitale Nelson (9th May 1921 – 28th December 2010)

Today you slipped quietly, in your sleep, from us. You have been daughter, sister, friend, wife, lover, mother, aunt, daughter-in-law, mother-in-law, grandmother.

Your life has been so interesting, so loving, so terrifying, so lonely, so sad, and so happy. You started in Fano, Italy where your secure world was torn apart by the violence and hatred of war; your bravery is evident in your defiance and the dedication you showed to your war-imprisoned brother, Ugo. The war: wherein you found the love of your life, Vivian. You sacrificed everything to follow your new husband back to his homeland, South Africa; so far away from your family, so alien and foreign to you, a young war-bride. How brave you were. How afraid, sad and lonely you must have been. You have a depth to your character of which we only saw glimpses.

I have learned so many things from you over the last 30 years. From your acceptance of me and my strange ways (I know you never quite “got” me, but you received me into your heart anyway) to your example of being an utterly devoted and loving wife (I cannot begin to follow in the depth of your footsteps here – I am too headstrong…?) and mother, to your love of and delight in my children: your grandchildren. Your determination in your life and your religious devotion speak of your strength of character.

And that inner strength is what I really I remember of you. My first memory of seeing you is a wiry, strong lady standing with her proud Siamese cat… So strong, yet so gentle and loving. Over the decades I have watched and learned. I have the greatest respect for you, the mother of my husband and the grandmother of my children; and I keep with me the many lessons about life I have learned from you. I say farewell Mom, with much love, I will hear you in the whispering of the wind, memories forever in my heart.

God’s finger touched [her], and [she] slept (Alfred Tennyson)

Monday, December 27, 2010

365 Days, Day 203

"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called (A.A. Milne)

Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want (Margaret Young)

You cannot always have happiness, but you can always give happiness (Author Unknown)

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony (Mahatma Gandhi)

Mad musings…

What makes me happy?

When I started thinking about what makes me happy, I became quite overwhelmed! There are so many things that make me happy.

Right now, I am content and happy within my little world. There are things to look forward to; there are things to look backwards at. There are things to look at upside down and back-to-front.

When I looked at Tom’s art book that Ariél gave him for Christmas, I realised just how much I have missed being creative over the last few months. I want my fingers to get down and dirty! I am going to set aside two days in the week to not be available to teach and will do some volunteer work or set myself specific art tasks. This is about taking control.

There are so many things which make me happy – people I can’t be with – so I will put on some purple tinted glasses and focus on what I can see and do and reach and touch. Knowing that what is behind me, under me, is still there. Waiting for when I can turn around and touch and see and do. I want to have coffee and a long chat with you.

Thinking about what makes me happy – I realise that it involves: people (you), coffee, chocolate, art, learning, talking, entertaining, shopping, looking, wearing, looking forward to, being, reading, bathing, dancing, touch, hearing, photography… I am going to be here all night if I just carry on with my musings.

I will be back!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

365 Days, Day 202

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge-
That myth is more potent than history.
I believe that dreams are more powerful than facts-
That hope always triumphs over experience-
That laughter is the only cure for grief.
And I believe that love is stronger than death

(Robert Fulghum)

Old myths, old gods, old heroes have never died. They are only sleeping at the bottom of our mind, waiting for our call. We have need for them. They represent the wisdom of our race (Stanley Kunitz)

Myth is the hidden part of every story, the buried part, the region that is still unexplored because there are as yet no words to enable us to get there. Myth is nourished by silence as well as by words (Italo Calvino)

Myths. They are about allegory, personification about rituals. They are about explaining the wonders of this life that are beyond us.

Take Christmas, with its Angels and Wise men and the Virgin birth.

Angels: every one of has an angel in their life: someone who seems to possess some special quality [thanks Gill – don’t know what I did to deserve your kind angel-thought today].

Wise men: hahaha. Just joking. I have crossed paths with some wonderful men who have wisdom and depth. I think here of Peter (husband of my yoga teacher, Adele) who completely fascinated me with his words.

Virgin birth: I think every birth is a profound little miracle.

I am not trying to take anything away from the Wonder of Christmas; I am just trying to unravel the myth and make it believable for today. Christmas is a time to give gratitude for the wonders in our lives. Each of us can give birth to new feelings - when we are angry, we can give birth to our gentleness or forgiveness. When we are sad, we can give birth to happy memories.

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” (Albert Schweitzer)

Now, on this train of thought: think with Love, and in silence reconnect with the source of Love that is already inside of you. As you begin to move toward what is intrinsically joyful and happy within you, you are linking with the myths of your culture. Embrace the myths and express yourself. Dance. Sing. Stretch. Laugh*. Be happy. And know you are loved. Tell someone that you love them now. And set the ball rolling. The myth lives on.

*Is this why some people think I am slightly weird???

Have a wonderful day.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

365 Days, Day 201

Life gives us brief moments with another...but sometimes in those brief moments we get memories that last a life time... (Author unknown)

Memories are the treasures that we keep locked deep within the storehouse of our souls, to keep our hearts warm when we are lonely (Becky Aligada)

I remember the laughs, words, touches we have shared.

Today has been a day turned upside down, but we just flow along with the current and enjoy the new journey. I said goodbye to Stussy at five this morning as Tom took her to the airport, I said hello to Ariél as she arrived home from work this morning at five. Christmas presents were exchanged much later, with Lily demolishing her three new chew toys within half an hour. She descended excitedly on the pile of wrapping paper and boxes. Then she discovered bubble wrap! Which pops when you bite it: she was beside herself with delight.

New memories: never replace the old; they just layer up the thick quilt of Life.

Thank you for memories old and new.

Friday, December 24, 2010

365 Days, Day 200

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas (Calvin Coolidge)

I have always thought of Christmas as a good time; a kind, forgiving, generous, pleasant time; a time when men and women seem to open their hearts freely, and so I say, “God bless Christmas!” (Charles Dickens)

I remember the Christmas-es past. Eager little voices getting up at the crack of dawn to be awed by what Father Christmas had left under the tree. The giggles, the laughter, the excitement. The noisy family lunches. I remember all of these with love.

Ariél says the only reason she realised Father Christmas was not ‘real’ was because I told the children not to go down into the cellar one Christmas Eve. I said that there was a dragon lurking there that did not want to be disturbed. She says she thought that was too far-fetched for even her to believe. Sorry Ariél! I hope I fuelled your imagination in other more believable ways?

My Christmas wish for each of you:

I wish you happiness in everything you do

I wish you inner peace

I wish you health of mind, body and spirit

I wish you Love

And although we may not be with you today in body, we will be there in spirit… hehehe

Listen for us in the tinkling of wine glasses or the clinking of cutlery as you eat your Christmas luncheon.

Much love


Thursday, December 23, 2010

365 Days, Day 199

A man's errors are his portals of discovery (James Joyce)

One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. Which road do I take? she asked. Where do you want to go? was his response. I don't know, Alice answered. Then, said the cat, it doesn't matter (Lewis Carroll)

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, "and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” (Lewis Carroll)

“'But I don’t want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.

'Oh, you can’t help that,' said the Cat. 'We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.'

'How do you know I’m mad?' said Alice.

'You must be,” said the Cat. 'Or you wouldn’t have come here.'” (Lewis Carroll)

I have spent about two hours doing three different Blogs for today: this is attempt number four. I am exhausted. I still have no idea of what I am doing. First attempt was about fashion, second attempt was Freudian slips, third attempt was Christmas pudding, oh and there was another attempt – fragments of the imagination. So I am starting at the beginning, with no theme and will go on till I come to the end and then stop. I know without a doubt that I must be quite quite mad to be sitting here still doing this!

I will go through the portal of my imagination and see where it takes me… The portal is leading me down a flight of stairs, I am wearing a sequinned hat and sequinned corset, and a long skirt. My heels are high, my lips are red. My false eyelids flutter. At the foot of the stairs is a silver table, on which stands a Christmas pudding. It has holly on top and a little tag. On reading the tag, it suggests, “Eat me.” Alice in Wonderland? I slice the pudding open and out pours some thick red sauce… Voices float through an open window.

I open the door, as I step into the darkness I hear…

[Have you ever played this game in an English class: where each student gets to add a paragraph to the story? Well, I have started the story, now you can each write another paragraph – including you, Tom!!]

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

365 Days, Day 198

We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey (Stephen R. Covey)

Let your mind start a journey through a strange new world. Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before. Let your soul take you where you long to be...Close your eyes let your spirit start to soar, and you'll live as you've never lived before (Erich Fromm)

I had to leave my comfort zone to start on my spiritual journey. Seeds have been planted along the way during my life, but they have remained dormant until the time was ripe for the Journey to begin.

Away from my history I am vulnerable and have to look with new eyes. I am a baby on this journey. I see things with the eyes of a child yet I bring with me the wisdom of my lives. My soul has seen so many things…

Reiki is a step onto the spiritual path. And I know this is where I am meant to be at moment.

I am trying very hard to make time in my life for quiet: to be one with the universe. I tend to fill my life with busy-ness. I am learning that to be ‘alone’ is not ‘lonely’. I am learning to stop wanting to control people (!?), situations and outcomes. I am learning that I will be only be dealt what I can deal with. I am trying to surround myself with positive energy when possible, and to not allow negative energy to pull me down. I am learning the importance of communicating my feelings, and that I have a right to do this and express my anger at times – and then to let go of negative feelings. I am learning to cherish. I am learning that to be small does no serve the world: that I am entitled to let my light shine. I am learning about the at-one-ment with the universe.

I am learning to live in the present moment.

Our true home is in the present moment.

To live in the present moment is a miracle.

The miracle is not to walk on water.

The miracle is to walk on the green Earth in the present moment,

to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now.

Peace is all around us-

in the world and in nature-

and within us,

in our bodies and our spirits.

Once we learn to touch the peace,

we will be healed and transformed.

It is not a matter of faith;

it is a matter of practice.

(Thich Nhat Hanh)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

365 Days, Day 197

The mind which plunges into Surrealism, relives with burning excitement the best part of childhood (Andre Breton, Surrealist Manifesto, 1924)

Surreal dream imagery - eruptions of strangeness into a known world: discrepancies of scale, or time, or context (Chris Wayan)

“'Make a remark,' said the Red Queen; 'it's ridiculous to leave all the conversation to the pudding!” (Lewis Carroll)

Our world at the moment seems somewhat surreal. It is Christmas time, yet is cold and white outside. We are alone, in a little bubble far from our known comfort zone; far from our loved ones. It seems as if we are in a strange dream with sounds, sights, smells and feelings strange to us. It is almost as though we have stepped into a film set. Nothing seems real: the known and unknown fuse in a splendorous clash. And we float in this dream-sea.

Had a bizarre conversation with a man in a coffee shop today, rather unusual… I know: what he does (or what he purports to do), that he was married, has no children, is pursuing a relationship with a lady called Linda whom he met on the internet (who is sorting out her head before she wants to see him again), that he was a Mayan priest in a past life (with not-always-good tendencies), that his star sign is Aries, that he looks after his body by only eating according to his blood type and so forth… Surreal.

The snow is melting and is all slushy on the roads. So when we walk to our car down in the main road where we park it, we have to wade through black slush-puppy, all the time I keep thinking: do NOT fall in this! I have “snow” boots now, so am well-equipped for the slippery-ness.

Walking in snow is not quiet and peaceful as one would imagine: there is a loud crunchy, crackly sound underfoot. But the sounds of ‘normal’ things are blanketed. A walk in the snowy forest is somewhat eerie and dream-like, everything is white and pretty. A bird squawk punctuates the forest’s silence, as it flaps from a tree and dislodges a flurry of snow onto the white carpet.

In my dream, I float. Hovering above the cold soft snow. My barefeet not touching the blanketed ground. The snowflakes flutter gracefully around me, landing like tiny white envelopes on my arm. I open an envelope. Inside is a minuscule silver square. As I touch it between my finger and thumb, a voice starts to chant rhythmically… Surreal.

I am reminded of Heston Blumenthal’s Christmas Feast… this creative man is beyond belief. His obsession is mind-boggling and awe-inspiring. I would like to save up to be able to afford to eat at his restaurant, Fat Duck which is horrendously expensive but would be a gastronomic experience of a life-time. Surrealism in food.

I have not yet left ANY conversation to the pudding: so I will quietly step back and let the pudding take over…

Monday, December 20, 2010

365 Days, Day196

We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts, we make our world.

Whether one believes in a religion or not,
and whether one believes in rebirth or not,
there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion.
(Dalai Lama)

Practice for the New Millennium by the Dalai Lama

The Practice:

1. Spend 5 minutes at the beginning of each day remembering

we all want the same things (to be happy and be loved)

and we are all connected to one another.

2. Spend 5 minutes breathing in, cherishing yourself; and, breathing out

cherishing others. If you think about people you have difficulty cherishing,

extend your cherishing to them anyway.

3. During the day extend that attitude to everyone you meet.

Practice cherishing the "simplest" person (clerks, attendants, etc)

or people you dislike.

4. Continue this practice no matter what happens or what anyone does to you.

These thoughts are very simple, inspiring and helpful.

The practice of cherishing can be taken very deeply if done wordlessly,

allowing yourself to feel the love and appreciation that

already exists in your heart.

What we think affects our world. Our belief system, our thoughts, our state of mind, our experiences, our background, our context all play a role in forming our thought patterns. But if we consciously make an effort to be positive and practice kindness (deeds and words) and compassion (emotions and words), we can make a positive difference in our little worlds.

When I go and ‘teach’ I have to create a positive little bubble around me. From within this bubble of positive energy, I can interact with kindness and compassion. I am polite and friendly and positive. I treat each student with respect and compassion, even in the face of being laughed at or treated rudely; I can walk away and know I have planted a tiny seed of difference and positive energy in the person who ‘rebuffed’ me. I had a little laugh to myself recently at school. The class was impossible: two boys, because I said they could not listen to their music on their ipods, decided they would do heavy metal roaring instead. Which they did loudly and badly. I suggested that they get on with their work: they would need maths, as their roaring skills were not very good. They decided they would then ‘die’. So they fell onto the floor and just lay there. Most of the class also decided that they would ‘die’ and fell onto the floor. I just said, “Come on little chickens time to wake up now.” They started going: Chickens! What are you calling us! Then another one of students decided that he, being really tall would have a laugh at the teacher. So he stretched up to the very top of the board and wrote: The teacher can’t reach this!

I thought this was rather funny. I smiled at him (kindness and compassion), pulled a chair over to the board, stood on it and rubbed out his words.

I like to think that at the end of the day, the people I have smiled at, had a friendly word with or just sent positive thoughts to, take away with them a smidgeon of my cherishing.

Love and light to you.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

365 Days, Day 195

Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information? (T.S. Eliot)

Information is the seed for an idea, and only grows when it's watered (Heinz V. Bergen)

I gather information as I go, and I store it for later use: like a squirrel collecting its nuts and seeds for winter (do they really do this, or is this just what we read in stories?)… On occasion I forget what I have gleaned, but some little trigger will set off the memory and result in a nugget of forgotten information being unwrapped.

We are overloaded with information everyday – everywhere we look there are signs, symbols, pictures, messages. Yet our brains sort through all of this sensory overload and make sense of it, store it, discard it, without our often being aware of this process. What amazing machines our brains are!

Sometimes we ask using language for information, like: “How old is your son then?” Your brain realises that it has made a mis-judgement when the reply is: “He is not my son, he is my boyfriend.” Or: “Could you tell me where I can find the post office?” Again brain realises too late *rewind, rewind* - that the eyes were not paying attention, as the reply is: “Um, right behind you…” Okay, so at times, the brain has to rely on the other parts of us humans to feed it some information which is why there are temporary malfunctions on the information front.

At the moment, I am reading four books: The Importance of Being Seven by Alexander McCall-Smith – just for fun as it’s light reading; Spider Web, a play in three acts by Agatha Christie; Three Cups of Tea, One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin – recommended by Nicki (it has changed the way people think about changing the world: Peace Through Education); and Reiki for Life by Penelope Quest – as preparation begins for my second level Reiki course which I am doing in January. Each of these books, in its own way, provides me with information about different cultures, different ways of thinking, and different ways of doing things. I am enthralled by each of these very diverse styles of writing and topics.

I am gathering information for later use.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

365 Days, Day 194

I came across this while looking up about leaving your mark on life:

Leaving your mark

Did you know...?

That Joan of Arc was only seventeen when she was riding at the head of the army that liberated France from the English?

That John Calvin was twenty-six when he published his "Institutes"?

That John Keats died when he was twenty-six?

That Shelley was thirty when he was drowned, but not before he left English literature his classic "Odes"?

That Sir Isaac Newton had largely discovered the working of the law of gravitation when he was twenty-three?

That Henry Clay, the "great compromiser," was sent to the United States Senate at twenty-nine and was Speaker of the House of Representatives at thirty-four?

That Raphael painted his most important pictures between twenty-five and thirty?

That Mozart only lived thirty-five years?

Of course, most of us will never achieve the prominence of these extraordinary individuals. Nor should we -- we are each cut from a unique pattern. But many people feel as if they should be leaving more of a mark on the world. When I was a young man I wanted to make things happen. After a few years I realized I would have to content myself with watching most things happen. (Now I often find that I have no idea at all what is happening!)

It helps to remember that there is a time for everything - and everybody. Our time to bear good fruit may be yet to come. In fact, we may do our best work, or find our unique place, later in life.

Colorado aspen trees grow vigorously. After the devastation of a forest fire, frequent occurrences in the Rockies, aspens are sometimes the first trees to return. They re-forest an area quickly, providing shade for slower-growing spruce and pine saplings. These evergreens grow slower, but may live many years longer than the aspens. Each tree grows in its own time.

So does each person. Some people come to fruition quickly, others contribute more significantly in later years.

If you've not yet come into your own, don't worry. Tend to your work and aspirations with care. Don't give up; but rather be patient, for growth can be slow. Remember, storms and disease are devastating, but they can also prune you and make you stronger. With proper nurture, you will in time enjoy a full harvest.

There is a time for everything and everybody. And the time to begin is now.

(Written by Steve Goodier)

This piece hit a chord with me. Battling to deal with my identity at the moment, I am wondering what my unique purpose in life is. I feel as though I have fulfilled my function (bringing up my three wonderful children). However, although I have feelings of sadness and am struggling a bit, I am determined to find a new life and become more independent. This will involve re-training, and I am not giving up in the face of defeat! Having said all that, the weather is so cold and snowy out that I just feel like staying indoors and not even poking a toe out.

If you look carefully at the photograph, you will notice that it is a stamp of a fancy “D” = me!

P.S. A Doula is an Holistic Birth Practitioner.

“A birthing woman is both vulnerable and powerful, human and Goddess.

When lost in her human fragility she may sometimes need the 'Presence' of another to help her re-member all that she is, all that she can be.”

"Because women have always been the guardians of life's wholesome practices, when we strengthen our health and spiritual power, we also strengthen the health and wisdom of the men, children and communities around us.

Women are the staff-holders of sacred life and nurturance"

(The Path of Practice)

The role of a doula/birth companion

Birth is one of the most significant events in our life. - It is a powerful rite of passage for all and the beginning of the parenting journey for the mother and father.

Our experience of birth is now acknowledged to have a profound and long lasting impact on our physical, emotional and spiritual health. Research has shown the importance of emotional support during labour and birth to enhance our experience of birth as well as positively influence the birth outcome and support the bonding process. Nevertheless, the great technological advances in the obstetric field in the last century have mainly focused on the physical safety and pain relief of the labouring woman, leaving her, the baby and father often with very little emotional support.

In most traditional cultures, there would be a wise woman working alongside the midwife, holding and comforting the labouring woman.

More recently birth companions/doulas have been fulfilling this role for the whole birthing family. Modern birth companions/Doulas are women especially trained to give emotional and practical support during the pregnancy, labour, birth and postnatal period, leading to more satisfying and empowered experiences, and a decrease in interventions, caesarean sections and postnatal depression.